How do I go about having the bank that owns the neighboring property to pay for the damages to my home?

My neighbor’s roof flew off during hurricane and landed on my home causing roof damage. My insurer wants me to pay a $17,550 deductible before they they even start the work on my home. It also changed my deductible from $1,200 which I can afford. to $17,550, without an explanation.

Asked on September 22, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Hawaii

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The property owner, bank or otherwise, is NOT liable for damage done when a "roof flew off durring [a] hurricane." A property owner is only liable for damage to another's property when they are at fault, or unreasonably careless, in causing it. The bank was not at fault in causing a hurricane, and if the hurricane was going to peel off the roof, there is no reasonable thing they could have done to prevent this. This is, in the old terminology, "an act of God," and the other property owner is not responsible for it.
However, if the insurer changed your deductible without giving you notice of the change and not at the correct time (e.g. at policy renewal time), that may well be illegal; an insurance policy is a contract, and a contract cannot be changed unilaterally (by one of the parties) whenever they feel like doing so. You may be able to sue the insurer under the terms of your policy (for "breach of contract") to force them to pay all but the deductible that you had on the policy.


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